Oct 28, 2018

Unethical media behavior and other crypto news this week

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Much of the attention this week in tech was on the litany of quarterly earnings reports, but there's still news in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology world to watch.

Catch up quick: An investigation into the industry's media pay-to-play; a judge dismissed an initial lawsuit against Coinbase over Bitcoin Cash listing; and the SEC's newest commissioner recently met with groups behind the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal.

Investigation into the industry's media pay-to-play (Breaker Magazine)

  • Why it matters: One unfortunate side of the boom in cryptocurrency and blockchain tech interest and activity is the rise of unethical trade press practices — namely some outlets charging fees to promote a project or company. Unethical media behavior has been around long before Bitcoin, but the combination of new and sometimes complex technology, along with lofty promises of fortunes, means that it can be especially damaging when this industry's news sites behave unethically.

Judge dismisses initial lawsuit against Coinbase over Bitcoin Cash listing (Coindesk)

  • Why it matters: Coinbase came under fire last year when the price of Bitcoin Cash spiked just hours before Coinbase announced its listing, leading to suspicions of insider trading. Coinbase says an outside investigation has found no wrongdoing. Still, a judge has dismissed most of this lawsuit's claims without prejudice, meaning that the plaintiff can file a modified complaint that's clearer in making its case.

The SEC's newest commissioner recently met with groups behind Bitcoin ETF proposal (Coindesk)

  • Why it matters: The Bitcoin ETF could have a chance. The SEC rejected a number of proposals recently, though it eventually stayed its rejection of three of them and will reconsider them. Proponents of these ETFs say they'll be a significant step in ushering more institutional capital into the market. (Here's the presentation provided to Commissioner Elad Roisman, who joined in September.)

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George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

4 takeaways from the Nevada Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

Klobuchar squares off with Buttigieg on immigration

Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."